Author Archive

Casinos ban Google Glasses

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

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Casino’s in several states of America are forbidding gamblers from wearing Google Glass, the tiny eyeglasses-mounted device. This device is capable of surfing the Internet, taking photos and recording videos.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement ordered Atlantic City’s 12 casinos to bar casino patrons from using the device this week.

Casinos in Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Ohio Connecticut have also made the decision to ban Google Glass to prevent cheating in gaming such as poker and blackjack. Security workers at the famous Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts will be asking patrons to remove devices if they suspect that the person is using the device to secretly photograph or take video recordings.

“If these eyeglasses were worn during a poker game, they could be used to broadcast a patron’s hand to a confederate or otherwise be used in a collusive manner,” David Rebuck, the division’s director wrote in a memo to the casinos.

“Even if the glasses had not been used for cheating … their presence at a gaming table would lead to the perception that something untoward could be occurring, thereby undermining public confidence in the integrity of gaming,” he wrote in the directive.

In a statement, Google said, “We are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues.” It said its “Glass Explorer” pilot program “will ensure that our users become active participants in shaping the future of this technology.”

New Jersey casinos ask anyone wearing the glasses to remove them, and can kick out any customer who refuses.

 

Google will soon launch Google Web Designer

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Google Logo 2010

 

Google is said to be launching Google Web Designer, an HTML5 development tool for creative professionals. It will be aimed at users who have relied on Flash for banners, widgets and even entire sites.

 

The service will launch in “the coming months” and is designed to “empower creative professionals to create cutting-edge advertising as well as engaging web content like sites and applications – for free.”

 

Google shared the news in a side note in a blog post about its DoubleClick advertising platform this morning, hence the emphasis on ads. Web Designer is said to be a stand-alone product that will be aimed at creative agencies and designers.

 

“To help advertisers and publishers more seamlessly unlock the potential of cross-device programs, we are investing in a new HTML5 creative development tool – Google Web Designer,” Google explained.

 

Google’s only service for creating websites currently is Google Sites, allowing users to create basic sites from pre-built templates. Web Designer is expected to be a more sophisticated replacement for Sites’ editor.

 

Even if the tool is developed to be aimed at advertisers, it could be an interesting product. Its output could be integrated into any existing website or web app.

Sony launches Xperia Tablet Z in SA

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

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Sony Mobile has launched its new tablet in South Africa. The company is looking to capitalise in the hype of the Xperia Z smartphone.

 

Xperia Tablet Z Specs

The Xperia Tablet Z has a 25.6cm display and is powered by a 1.5Ghz quad core processor. that puts it near the top in terms of mobile device performance.

It has an 8 megapixel main camera with  2 megapixel front facing camera. The tablet also records video in Sony’s “Exmor R for mobile” format.

With Sony being famous for their ability to produce state of the art sound, it is no surprise that this tablet hosts four built-in speakers.

The tablet is NFC-enabled, allowing multimedia content to be shared with peripherals. It also has 16GBs of storage and a microSD slot.

One of the main selling points of this Android-powered tablet is that it is water resistant to 1m depth for 30 minutes.

The functionality of the tablet has been expanded so it can be used as a TV remote.

 

User Experience

Although the Tablet Z specifications are remarkable to say the least, Sony has announced that they would like to focus on the user experience rather than the hardware of this device. The unit was built with a mindset of entertaining the user.

 

Launch Date and Pricing

The Xperia Tablet Z is expected to be available at the beginning of July with an estimated retail price of between R7,000 and R10,000.

The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Media Networks

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Social media is a range of networks around the clock. Someone is always tweeting or updating their Facebook status. For social media managers, this could be problematic as they don’t have the time to be online 24/7. Even if you do work for a digital agency, you cannot be online all day long.

So how do you reach your audience best with the limited online time you have? Have a look at some suggestions below:

Trial and Error

By updating statuses and tweeting using link shorteners like bit.ly, you can track how many times this link was clicked. It is also a good idea to keep a record of what you shared on which social media platform, to see what is working most effectively for your business. This also shows you the best times to post according to the level of engagement with fans and followers. Sounds pretty simple, but could be an effective method to use.

Social Media Tools

With the fame of social media, many monitoring and reporting tools have come about. Tools such as SocialBro allow you to pull daily reports on the best time to tweet. You can view the daily times that most users are online and capitalise on that. Other tools that can be used such as Hootsuite can be used for auto-scheduling to get your posts through to your audience at the best time, no matter how busy you are.

 

Be sure to remember your customers, product or service and the types of messages you are posting. Thanks to research, the infographic below shows us the best and worst times to post  on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and Pinterest. To maximize your reach, be sure to post within the following times:

Social Media - when to post

5 Creative Ways to Spend your Lunch Break

Friday, May 24th, 2013

One of the best pieces of work advice you should take is – yes, to make sure that you take your lunch hour.

If you take preference in indulging in your food at your desk, think again – it’s an unhealthy habit! Having no sense of fresh air or sunlight on your skin for stretches of ten hours or more is really not good for your wellbeing. Take time to take a lunch break – you will be amazed at how useful that one hour can be to enhance your productivity and wellbeing.

Beyond running to the nearest service station or shop, shake things up with one of these creative ideas.

1.         Join a Lunch Network

GetLunched.com is a free online network that allows you to “get a lunch connection” or “get a lunch deal”. Here you can personally extend invitations to people and restaurants you want to connect with. It’s very simple, find who you want to lunch with and decide the terms, either “I’m Buying”, “You’re Buying” or “50/50”. Featured restaurants can also help with lunch deals for the day and if you’re a member, you will have early access to the best offers at hand!

For more information, check out GetLunched.com.

2.         Play “Lunch Roulette” with you Co-Workers

No matter the size of your company, you are bound to have co-workers that you have never had a decent conversation with. The idea of “Lunch Roulette” is to grab food with a co-worker you would like to get to know a little better. You will be amazed at how much you can learn about somebody with an hour and some food. Get to know the girl or guy sitting around the corner from you!

3.         Tap into your Smartphone

Be sure to remember the minicomputer in your pocket! Head outside and browse through some really cool and highly rated apps in your lunch hour.

  • Audible.com: Learn something new or engage in a story with Amazon’s audible.com. Get access to over 100,000 audio books or iTunes’ podcast library for thousands of free podcasts.
  • Pictorious: Practice your iPhonography skills and compete in photo challenges— like snapping a pic of unexpected artor a silhouette. You can earn points and rewards as your images are up voted or down voted.
  • SCVNGR: Relax in an around your office environment using this mobile app. Scavenger allows you to complete tasks to earn points – points that lead to real life rewards!

4.       Get a Manicure

If you prefer disconnecting from all technology, head to a nearby salon and treat yourself with an express manicure. Be sure to return to your desk refreshed, with freshly trimmed and polished nails, a simple touch to add to the professional vibe.

5.       Work Out

If a work out in the evening is too tiresome, consider your hour lunch break to recharge your brain and muscles. This is a fabulous energy booster and of course, is healthy for you. Pack a change of clothes and your iPod for your lunch time work out and sweat out your frustrations for the hour, leaving you rejuvenated and energetic for the rest of your working day.

 

work-out

Are Social Media and Technology ruining your life?

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Social media and technology have changed our lifestyles and keeps us connected like never before. There are many advantages to social media and technology, however, have you thought about the negatives? Can this have a negative impact on our lives by being an overload of data influencing our lifestyles?

Social-media-frustration

Can social media and technology have a negative effect on our lives?

Is social media a tool used to share information, or can it be a form of procrastination in the working world, thus hindering productivity?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you play games before your work is done?
  • Do you use online games or surfing the web to avoid completing tasks?
  • Do you check social media posts frequently?

Using social media as a diversion is not advised. From a physical health point of view, it is harmful to be seated and munching  whilst on the computer for lengthy hours. Emotional stress can be a result of social media. This is because updating your status makes you happy , but reading your read friends’ status updates, leaves you feeling envious and negative about your own life. Posts are likely to be positive, as people do not favour posting their worst experiences.

 

What are the negative effects of sharing our life via social media and technology?

Social media and technology brings forth great tools to share your life with your loved ones and stay connected. However, this should never be a platform for personal issues as too much information let out could be harmful in the long run.

 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I exposing too much personal information?
  • Do I want everyone to know about this?
  • Could this post be interpreted in the wrong way?

The key to using social media is for your own enjoyment. It is not a platform to impress others and try to portray the perfect picture of yourself to your friends. Do not be easily swayed by others’ opinions and be sure to not overexpose yourself.

 

Can social media and technology change the way your brain works?

The human brain is constantly working and retrieving new data. This new data can have an impact on cognitive functions in the long run. Social media and technology can also cause shorter attention spans with its instant information and response.

 

What should you do?

There is no need to disconnect from all social media and technology platforms. Simply be cautious in how this is used with regards to time and exposure, and make time for yourself to disconnect. It is always good to shut down and go back to an old fashioned lifestyle to recuperate and stay in touch with yourself.

 

Structuring a complete Digital Marketing Strategy

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Introduction

Having recently completed the Digital Marketing Institute’s (DMI),  Digital Marketing Diploma, I thought I would summarise and share the contents of the course, and at the same time provide a holistic overview of the DMI’s view on Digital Marketing.

Marketing Trends

What are the top marketing trends you’ve come across?

The program consists of a 5 Day intensive bootcamp covering all the various disciplines of Digital Marketing.

First off, it’s imperative to understand, that there are many channels that make up an entire Digital Marketing Plan, and by selecting only a few of them, you could be leaving out many other crucial aspects.

Secondly, by utilising all channels, you are in effect harnessing the full power of a complete strategy, but need to do so in a fully integrated way.

The different components that make up a Digital Marketing Strategy are:

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Search Marketing – The DMI covers Pay per click (paid advertising) under this section
  • Email marketing
  • Digital Display advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Mobile marketing
  • Analytics (being able to report on results)

The entire marketing framework, then needs to be underpinned by strategy, and thorough planning.

Aside from just understanding the various channels, the DMI continually refers to the 3i Principals, being initiate, iterate, and integrate. The basic concept is that each strategy must start off with the customer as the focus of the campaign, alter over time, as one gathers more accurate info about this customer, and finally integrate all other marketing messages in a coherent manner.


Your objective

First off, and more importantly than the channel you are ultimately going to use, is the over arching objective(s). Why you are doing it

Be Specific

What results are you looking for?

You need to set yourself, and your organisation, very clear, specific and measurable goals that you are looking to achieve from your online marketing strategy.

By starting with the customer in mind, you could begin to ask such things as; ‘who is my customer?’ ‘Where do they work?’ ‘How do they browse the web?’ and ‘what leads them to make a buying decision?’

Why do we need to ask ourselves these questions? Well, in order for success, your message needs to be highly targeted. The better you know your audience, the more they we feel as though you are talking directly to them.

Tell your customer, what you want them to do, by making your ‘Call to Action’ clear.


Research

Once you’ve answered these questions, you need to invest a considerable amount of time doing focused and quality in depth research.

  • Interrogate the keywords that people use when looking for your product or service
  • Check trending data of search volume at different times of the year for your product or service
  • Explore which channels potentially stand to provide you with the best success and Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Be aware of what your competitors are already doing in this space, and how you can differentiate

Plan

Once you have worked out the purpose for your campaign, and have done your research, you now need to develop a detailed action plan.

Decide how long in advance you wish to plan (3, 6 or 12 months), and then set up a calendar, with dates to take various action steps.

Marketing Strategy

How will you unlock your brand’s potential?

Make sure that all your dates coincide correctly, and don’t overlook anything. An example of this would be to make sure you have designed and populated your emailer, before the date it’s due to be sent.

Execute

The greatest marketing plan in the world is absolutely meaningless, if not acted upon. So in order to get results, take action.

If your planning stage was done correctly, there is no need to second guess yourself, so trust your plan and work it accordingly. Stick to the plan and don’t deviate at the outset. You need to allow for a certain amount of action, and results before you decide to change anything.

 

Measure

If you can’t measure it, how can you improve on it?

In order to run any marketing campaign effectively, you will need to decide upfront what will determine its overall success.

Analyse and report

Have you got the results you expect?

This is important, so that you can ultimately tweak the campaign in the direction that will further increase your ROI.

Decide in advance what you plan to measure in your Digital Marketing Plan, as well as how you plan to measure it. This can easily be done with a number of free or paid for reporting tools which can be found online, and taken advantage of.

Before deciding on the tools to use, first decide on the type of information you wish to measure, and what you would like to do with it, once you have it.


Conclusion 

So, while there are many opportunities and channels for Digital Marketing online, and whilst it is important to pick the rights ones for your business, its even more important to do in depth research, strategise your campaign, have an executable action plan, and then, through real-time and effective monitoring, deviate your strategy and actions, to make the most of everything that online has to offer you.

 

 

 

 

Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

What you say on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+ and any other platform on the web) could potentially end you in hot water.

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Not only is this a fact when it comes to issues of humanitarian aspects, racial commentary or general slander against individuals, but even more so against the corporate world, and especially the company you work for. More and more companies are monitoring their reputation online, and this online commentary has become easier to monitor, and pick up through a wide range of tools. Therefore the chances of negative (and positive) sentiment being picked up on the web is a reality, and increasingly so.

So what does this mean to you, the employee of a company, against which you have had or made a negative outburst? It’s quite simple, you can lose your job, and what’s more, even have legal action taken against you. Just by posting something on the web, in any form or any platform, you are governed by the same laws that govern publishing as a whole.

So, the next time you retweet someone’s negativity, or post on Facebook, or decide to just have your own negative outburst, think about the long-term impacts that this action could have against you

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The SEO impact of Responsive Design

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

What is Responsive web design?

You might be asking yourself, “what the hell is this responsive web design?!”. Responsive web design is the term given to a certain way that a website is designed and built. Back in the day, the accustomed way for you to expose your online presence to as many people as possible, would be to create multiple versions of your website. One for PC and the other for mobile phones. A website that has a responsive web design, can adapt to any platform or screen size. Menu’s are organised and images are automatically re-sized. Microsoft is a brilliant example of a website that uses responsive design.

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How does responsive web design impact SEO?

Right, so you know what responsive web design is. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty and talk about the effects on Search Engine Optimisation.

I would like to be as fair as possible when I weigh the pro’s and con’s but to be totally honest, the pro’s definitely out-weigh the con’s. Let’s start with the Pro’s:

More user friendly

When a visitor lands on your website, it is safe to assume everything is in working order. No broken navigation or misplaced images. Everything pops into place, leaving a clean, easy to use website.

Link building is easier

When you are building your link profile, your focus will be in a single place. Remember that your mobi site is now your main site as well. Link building will become easier to manage when you don’t have to worry about a secondary mobi site.

Decreased bounce rate

If you have a website that is not tablet or iPad friendly, the bounce rate from those visits will generally be high. With a responsive website design, and a single multi platform landing page for your visitors, you will see a decreased bounce rate from these visitors.

Now let’s get down to the Con’s…

Set up time and expense

Shifting to a responsive design is a great task. It takes considerable more effort and time to implement. The designers and the developers are tasked with creating a smooth user experience.

Larger pages

This is a huge topic of discussion at the moment. Are the large pages worth the risk? Both for Google and visitor usability.

This will be up to you to decide.

How to not suck at Twitter

Friday, February 1st, 2013

In the world of Social Media and community management there are some people who just “get Twitter” and some people who don’t.  So this is a fun, yet serious post that I feel is long overdue to help people who are just doing Twitter so wrong, do it a little better – after all Rome wasn’t built in a day, or in less than 140 characters.

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So you have heard about this thing called Twitter, and you have opened yourself up an account and chosen a handle (which is what your name is called on Twitter), what do you do from here onwards? Well let me help you out.

  1. Start following people with the same interest as you:  You can find these people by searching keywords that interest you, in order to find other people who are talking about the same stuff as you, for example ‘running’, ‘fishing ‘, and ‘poetry’.
  2. Get interacting:  The most valuable thing I was ever told was “Interaction is Key” and it really is. How is anyone with a lot of followers supposed to know you are there and that you share their interests if you don’t try to talk to them? So get interacting
  3. Don’t over use #Hashtags: Your tweet has to get across what you are trying to say in under 140 characters. There is nothing more annoying than reading a tweet that goes along the lines of, “Wow, what a great run #Running #Fitness #WorkingOut #RunningTips #RunForFun”. Your tweet gets lost in the hash tag noise.  Tweet it like you would say it, and if you do need to add a hash tag, I would personally stick to 2 maximum.
  4. Don’t join #TeamFollowBack or beg for followers: Team Follow Back is to Twitter what Oil is to Water.  Granted you can put oil and water together but sooner or later they are going to separate and the result isn’t pretty. The same applies to #TeamFollowBack. Your Twitter experience will be diluted because they are following you and you are following them only because you are a number.  Rather have fewer followers who share the same interests as you and really enjoy the people in your community than having millions of people you don’t talk to but feel obligated to follow.
  5. Don’t be an arrogant idiot:  Ok we get it. You have a lot of followers. People may even call you “an influencer”, well guess what? The people who made you an influencer are still following you and can stop doing that at any time.  Respond to tweets, follow the ones trying to interact with you or interact back with them.  Be human. Calling yourself a Twitter celebrity is kind of like the homeless guy at the traffic light. Everyone knows you are there and can see you but only the ones who smile back will give you their spare change or a moment of your time

Good chat kids. Now go forth and tweet, but be ‘Twitter Friendly”